Act now to maximize your retro refund potential

On October 2, L&I will take a snapshot of claims expenses for employers in the following Approach retros:

  • PITB Platinum
  • PITB Select
  • SMART Advantage

Washington workers’ comp freeze dates explained

Remember playing freeze tag with your friends as a kid? The freeze date is basically the same thing, but for claims costs. In other words, L&I picks a day to shout “freeze” and captures all of the claim costs for your Retro group as of that day.

  • There is one freeze per year for each Retro group, about 10 months after the plan year ends.
  • If the total costs on that day are less than L&I predicted they would be, your group is in line for a refund.
  • If the total costs are higher than predicted, your group may be charged extra money to make up the cost difference. This is known as an “assessment.”

There is no relief for claims costs during COVID-19, so it’s more important than ever to bring your injured employees back to work

The fewer number of open claims and the lower the claims costs, the higher the chance for a refund. So, if your company has open claims, you’ll be hearing from your Approach Retro Coordinator to discuss steps we can take to reach closure. This can include things such as bringing injured employees back work on a temporary light-duty or permanent modified duty assignment. Doing so will improve the claim status, reduce the costs, and hopefully maximize your potential refund!

Washington workers’ comp and COVID-19

You may have heard that L&I is offering employers relief on paying their workers’ comp premiums due to COVID-19.

Unfortunately, there is no relief for claims costs during COVID-19. Time-loss, loss-of-earning-power, and other indemnity costs are continuing to rack up on claims unless and until the injured employee returns to work.

Even with so many pressures on Washington employers right now, it’s more important than ever to bring your injured employees back to work on a temporary or permanent basis. Otherwise, you could be looking at workers’ comp rate increases of 25% per year for three years in a row — rates you’ll pay for every hour and every employee.

Your Approach retro coordinator can help you develop light-duty job descriptions that work for today’s environment, such as COVID-19 safety monitors or a variety of jobs that are suitable for working-from-home.

Getting injured employees back on the job

Luckily, the Stay-at-Work and Preferred Worker programs are both still available for employers. These each come with incentives of $10,000 or more and, best of all, your company might be eligible to use both programs! Your retro coordinator can help you determine if either program is a match for your injured employee(s), plus help you with the job offer paperwork.

Claim closure checklist for August

October will be here before we know it, so your Retro Coordinator will be asking you to move fast on getting your injured employees back to work. Here are some basic steps you may need to take:

  • Developing a light-duty job description for approval by the Attending Provider
  • Extending a formal written job offer to the injured employee
  • Allowing an injured employee to attend closing/rating medical examinations to expedite claim closure

Approach has a light-duty job description library, complete with COVID-19 response jobs, so we can quickly tailor a position to the needs of your company and injured employee.

Time is of the essence this year, especially with L&I staff furloughs and waiting times to see providers, so let’s get started right away! We can only count the savings that we achieve up to October 2.

No claims? Let’s keep it that way!

If your company doesn’t have any open workers’ comp claims, then you don’t need to do anything in preparation for freeze.

This would be a great time to let your employees know that safety is a priority so that we can help avoid any new claims in the future. An injury that never happens is always cheaper than a claim!

Remember, as a member of an Approach-managed retro group, you receive an annual complimentary safety visit! Schedule your visit now at https://approachms.com/resources/forms/safety-visit-request/